welcome to nhk world "newsline." i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. japanese prime minister shinzo abe lays out his government's new policy package aimed at revitalizing the economy. . the president of the philippines is throwing behind his support. sunni militants in iraq are destroying and ripping down cultural statues as they march towards baghdad.
members of japanese prime minister shinzo abe's government have approved his strategy for growth. cabinet ministers have also backed abe's policies for economic and fiscal reforms. abe met with reporters shortly after the ministers gave him their approval. >> translator: the momentum of the economic recovery has not yet spread throughout japan. we have to ensure that the favorable economic cycle we're seeing this year isn't just temporary. we'll reinforce this favorable cycle to revitalize small and medium-sized enterprises across the country. we'll make sure everyone realizes the effects of the economic recovery. that's the mission of abenomics. >> one of the main items in the fiscal and economic reform package is a reduction in
japan's corporate tax rate. business leaders have called for the change. supporters say lowering the tax will attract more overseas investment. they say it will also help japanese companies compete internationally. the reduction would take effect in april of next year and would cut the tax rate from 35% to below 30% over several years. the prime minister is also calling for more support for people raising children. the policies are aimed at stabilizing japan's population. abe's growth strategy features legislation to revamp the way people work. it calls for introduction of performance-based wages for certain workers. they're people with specialized skills who earn about $100,000 a year or more. the proposal for the medical services sector would allow patients to combine treatments covered by public insurance with those that aren't. japanese leaders also want to shake up farming. their strategy calls for the reform of nationwide agricultural cooperatives that
want to give local cooperatives more say over how things are run. our senior political commentator masao nakajima joins us in the studio. corporate tax cut, as i've been mentioning, seems to be a big part of his policy. >> yes. japan's corporate tax rate is currently about 35%, the second highest among developed nations. the administration promised to lower the rate to below 30%. abe believes that a tax cut will make japan more competitive and more attractive for foreign investors. japanese business leaders have long been calling for a corporate tax cut to put japan on an equal footing with its international rivals. but questions remain about where the government intends to find alternative sources of revenue. some lawmakers argue that the government needs to compensate for the job in tax revenue.
they believe that restoring the nation's fiscal health is also important. >> japan is one of the fastest aging societies. how does the administration plan to handle japan's population decline? >> well, japan's rapidly shrinking population is likely to reduce the size of the economy. minimizing this impact is another big goal of the abe administration. steps are needed to secure enough workers to keep the economy going. abe's thinking about inviting more foreign workers. but a drastic easing of japan's basic immigration policies does not look like his major option yet. rather, abe promised to consider bold measures to tackle the birth rate problem. these include financial assistance for third-born and subsequent children.
but experts say that that kind of measures are not good enough for example, working mothers have a hard time finding child care in japan. high housing and education costs make it harder for parents to plan for a big family. japan's long recession also decreased the average household income. many young people now do not marry because of low incomes and unstable employment. wages, working hours and employment systems need to be revised to make it easier for mothers to work and have more children. >> farming is also another item that's often brought up. how does japan's agricultural sector fit into abe's growth strategy? >> well, abe's goal is to make japan's agriculture sector more competitive. his administration wants to allow local farming cooperatives to operate more freely. they now have to take advice from a central organization.
abe wants to overhaul that system by reviving the leading corporate union. and abe says the free trade deal currently being negotiated as the transpacific partnership is a key to making japan's agricultural sector more competitive. but tpp member countries such as the u.s. have demanded that japan open its markets wider for their dairy products, for example. abe recognizes the agriculture sector needs reform. but he must also protect local farmers. the free trade negotiations itself still has a bumpy road ahead. you know, those are just a few of the points and problems in abe's new growth strategy. >> masao, thanks, as always.
philippine president benigno aquino, met with in tokyo. nhk reports. >> reporter: aqino and abe have held face to face talks third time this year. they vowed to deepen their economic and security partnerships. >> prime minister abe and i likewise share the view that prosperity development cannot exist in a vacuum. it only be fully realized in a context that fosters stability. >>translator: we are working close together. >> reporter: these photos wesho
chinese working on a reeves -- reefs. they estimate the crews have reclaimed at least 90,000 square meters of shoals and they say chinese military will likely use the area for run warks and radar systems. both nations are in a territory dispute over the islands. aquino has sharp criticism for leaders in beijing. >> the point is it is disputed and we are questioning, so we need a resolution. >>translator: government officials in vietnam are adding their concern. they say video shot earlier this week shows a boat from china
ramming one from vietnam. vessels from both nations have been squaring off near the islands for weeks now. leaders in hanoi oppose a chinese oil rig being set up in the region. jps ships have also been involved in confrontations with chinese vessels in the east china sea. at tuesday's sunday meeting, aquinno expressed hope that japan will play a greater role in the issue. abe reiterates that he along with his counterpart cannot tolerate any attempt to change the status quo by force. >> philippine president aquino has asked for helped to reconstruct minute nan doe
island. what's the latest? >> president aquino gave a speech on tuesday in hiroshima in western japan at a meeting between the philippine government and the country's largest muslim separatist group. japan helped foster a peace agreement in march. >> i cannot overemphasize just houches japan has contributed in nurturing that in hope that enabling aws you will of to look for a hope of future possibilities. >> three years ago, the talks led to the peace deal. president aquino used his speech on tuesday to ask for japan's
continued support. the separatists armed struggle against the government against the majority catholic country in the 1970s. the peace deal calls for auto no, ma'am my. >> earthquakes, floods and typhoons devastating natural saturdays terses affect the asia region more frequently than any other part of the world. the conference began tuesday in ban dock. government officials are attending. they are including discussions how to allocate public resources. one of strongest typhoons on record hit the philippines last november, leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing.
several million people are still unable to return home. it's especially vulnerable to earthquakes, typhoons and other natural disasters. five young japanese from areas devastated by the disaster attended a youth forum on the conference in tuesday and made a presentation alongside others from thailed and indonesia. >>translator: i know from the bottom of my heart how important anti disaster measures are. i want to call out to people across the world to take precautions against natural disasters. >> reporter: the presenters stressed the need to educate young people to be prepared and to support children affected by natural disasters. >> people across asia have grown rice for centuries but in war torn countries like afghanistan,
cultivation has stopped. >> reporter: the landscape could be somewhere in southeast asia, but this vast expanse of rice paddies lies in northern iran. she want to acquire knowledge about rice planting. their mission is to contribute to their country's agriculture. they are learning farming. it is ran by a japanese corporation. rice used to be a staple of the after fan diet.
it was second in importance to wheat, but after many years of conflict, good farmland has been destroyed so the country has to import some of its rice. the corporation began teaching farmers a more profitable way to grow rice. back then, the taliban renewed its offenses. the instructor shifted it to iran. the country is stable and shares culture, climate, and language with afghanistan. there are many rice growers.
they were also trained. they are teaching the afghan farmers. >>translator: we can be grateful that japan's relations with afghanistan and iran have helped so much with this training program. >> reporter: one member of the progr program, a government employee of the agriculture office in western afghanistan. his training covers the throwing of seed rice and conditioning of soil. he's adapting left his five children at home to come and train in iran.
he hope the techniques he learns will help bring prosperity to his country and a more peaceful life to his family. >>translator: i hope afghanistan will move toward a better future rather than step backward. if our country develops, we will be more proud of it and that will lead to better security. >> reporter: people of the three countries are in the rice growing program. >> that wraps up our bulletin. extremist sunni militants are on mission to sweep away
the established order across iraq. they're vowing to introduce laws based on their interpretation of islam and they're destroying symbols of iraq's heritage. fighters with the islamic state of iraq and levant took over the city of mosul two weeks ago. video released by the a.p. news agency shows militants there taking down statues. they include revered cultural figures such as a musician and a poet. analysts say isil supporters believe in a strict interpretation of islam that bans idol worship. the afp news agency says members of the group have declared plans to introduce a 16-point islamic law. one measure would stipulate that women wear clothes that are not revealing. a former u.s. ambassador to iraq says the turmoil could force american leaders to adjust their diplomatic priorities. christopher hill suggests president barack obama may rethink his policy pivot toward asia. >> we have urgent problems in the middle east.
we have important opportunities in east asia-pacific. but i think in the competition between the urgent and the important, the urgent wins. >> obama announced the pivot to asia after the wars in iraq and afghanistan. u.s. leaders were also responding to china's rapid military buildup. pro-russian separatists in eastern ukraine are signaling they want to find a way to end the fighting. one of their leaders has met with government representatives for the first time. and he's agreed to honor a cease-fire declared by the president. the prime minister of the self-proclaimed donetsk people's republic made the announcement after talks with former ukrainian president kuchma. russia's ambassador was also present. ukrainian president petro poroshenko declared a week-long bilateral cease-fire. he also unveiled a plan for peace. he has urged pro-russian militants in the region of donetsk to stop fighting.
the u.s. and russian presidents got on the phone to discuss the situation. barack obama asked vladimir putin to use his influence to help end the unrest. putin reportedly said russia supports the ukrainian leader's peace plan. people in afghanistan may have to wait even longer for a new president. a senior member of the election commission has resigned after allegations of vote rigging. officials are counting votes in the runoff between former foreign minister abdullah abdullah and former finance minister ashraf ghani. abdullah accused the commission of widespread vote rigging. he said members should suspend the count. he demanded the head of their secretariat step down. that post was held by zia-ul-haq amarekhil. he announced his resignation. >> translator: i want the national institutions to remain national. in the interests of my people i submit my resignation to the independent election commission. i officially resign my post.
>> amarekhil rejected abdullah's charge of vote rigging. he said he quit for the sake of confidence building. abdullah says he'll meet election officials and discuss how to respond. he has not withdrawn his accusation. nearly 10,000 u.s. troops are scheduled to stay in afghanistan next year to train local security forces. the delay in the vote count could affect that plan because the afghan president has to sign an agreement. a nominee for prime minister of south korea has backed out. moon chang-keuk withdrew his candidacy over his comments on the country's history with japan. analysts say it is the latest political setback for president park geun-hye. >> translator: after being nominated as a candidate for the next prime minister, the country was deeply divided. people failed to come together.
>> moon told reporters he wants to take responsibility for causing controversy. he was a journalist at one of the country's major newspapers. he told a church gathering three years ago that japan's colonial rule of the korean peninsula was god's will and his university lecture this year also sparked controversy. in it, he said south korea is not a weak country that needs an apology from japan over the issue of so-called comfort women. president park had initially picked a former supreme court justice as a candidate for prime minister. he declined the offer after he was criticized for his high salary. moon was the second nominee for the post. park has been harshly criticized over her government's handling of april's ferry disaster. >> a major chinese.
sources say it is teaming up to take over hes for about $100 million. the trading firm and the public-private trading fund are expected to share the costs. it also runs a swawrt supply firm in brazil. it has been providing water-related services in five countries including chile and china. the acquisition will help it make full in roads into the water business in europe. in europe, some fiscally strained countries are planning to private ties the services. hail and heavy rain pounded parts of tokyo tuesday. our meteorologist, jonathan oh, has the dramatic images from the weather and the forecast for
what we can expect. jonathan. >> hello, gene. yes, the pictures that are coming out that i will show you in just a bit were quite dramatic. and you can tell by what is to come based on the satellite imagery with the clouds popping up. and whenever you see that happening, as opposed to a gradual increase in the cloud cover, that's when you see thunderstorms taking place. let me show you the video right now because hail fell over portions of the tokyo prefecture as we went through tuesday. and you can see how widespread it was. we're talking about an accumulation of ten centimeters, and these hail sizes were around two to three millimeters in diameter. and it also caused a lot of problems. you can see the roofs of carports destroyed because of the hail, but also plants were affected. and so definitely the storms had an impact in the area in the region going throughout tuesday. on top of that, let me show you some of the rainfall totals that took place in tokyo and other parts of east asia.
140 millimeters of rain fell in kagoshima. on top of the fact that they already in significant rain over the weekend, more rain fell which means flooding and landslide possibilities continue. okinawa, 75 millimeters of rain. hong kong, another 50 millimeters have fallen. and it looks like that more rain is on the way for japan and also for a good portion of east asia. we have this stationary front that is in place. you can see here moisture developing. the reason why, we have colder air higher up in the atmosphere and then warm air surging in at the ground level. that allows for the development of some of those storms. and it looks like that possibility will continue as we go throughout the next few days. here's a look at what's happening in terms of the rainfall accumulation for the next 72 hours. you can see here rainfall accumulation up to 150 millimeters possible. and we're seeing that over in the western islands, also into parts of the indochina peninsula. and so the rainy season is not going away any time soon. have the umbrella handy
wednesday because you'll need it, manila, shanghai, taipei and tokyo, you'll be seeing some rain as we go throughout wednesday. speaking of rain, we have rain and thunderstorms to talk about over in the americas. we have a low-pressure system in the ohio river valley pushing east. warm air surging from the south into the area. and we also have colder air filtering in behind it. having plenty of reports of hail into colorado. tornado spottings in ohio and illinois and heavy rain into georgia. and it looks like the unstable weather will continue anywhere from atlanta all the way up into the southeastern tips of quebec. and so definitely we'll want to look out for more rain and thunderstorm activity. toronto, 25. chicago, 26 with a chance of rain and thunderstorms in atlanta with a high of 29. and also, another chance for rain as we look for the pacific northwest of the u.s. a chance for rain in seattle with a high of 21. we wrap things up with a look at europe. we have a low-pressure system east of the scandinavian
peninsula driving that cold air and rain and thunderstorms and highs only in the teens. we also have a very unstable weather situation from the iberian peninsula with a low there and a stationary front in the southern tip of europe. we're looking at the possibility of some severe weather into the balkan peninsula once again with heavy downpours. certainly not a good situation. let's look at the forecast, though, for the british isles. we have a system moving in. so when it comes to the wimbledon, you may see some scattered showers for tuesday and wednesday, but the rain chances will increase as we head toward the weekend. i hope you have a good day wherever you are. here's your extended outlook.
♪ thrills, splash, and adrenaline. white water rafting out in the wilds of japan. it's hard to believe this is only an hour away from tokyo. >> isn't it beautiful? today i've come to gunma prefecture to the town of minakami. it's quite a small town, but many, many tourists come here to take part in all the attractions here. as you can see, a lot of beauty. many hot sprong